One of the biggest concerns over the Meltdown and Spectre patches supposed to fix vulnerabilities in Intel, AMD, and ARM processor is that devices could experience a major slowdown, as performance would be significantly reduced due to the tweaks made to prevent exploits.
Intel itself suggested that some high-performance machines could indeed experience a somewhat noticeable slowdown, though the company said in the case of the average user such an impact on performance is highly unlikely to be observed.
And as it turns out, performance of Windows 10 devices after installing the Meltdown and Spectre patches isn’t reduced, according to a series of benchmarks performed by TechSpot, and in some cases, a somewhat improvement is actually recorded.
In the case of the storage tests, for example, the only significant different takes place in the 4K read results, where the performance cost is estimated at 23% following deployment of security patches, as rates drop from 44 MB/s to 34 MB/s on an Intel Core i7 8700K processor with Samsung SSD 950 Pro with 512GB storage.
No change in gaming performance
Gaming benchmarks have demonstrated that performance before and after installing Meltdown and Spectre patches has remained almost the same, with only small changes, either improvements or slowdowns, experienced in different scenarios. Running Assassin’s Cree: Origins with ultra high-quality settings on a GTX 1080 Ti card, for instance, returns the same benchmark scores before and after patching.
No impact on frame rates appears to be experienced and, what’s more, changing settings doesn’t seem to generate any substantial difference on a system where updates have been installed.
Overall, there’s a good chance these security patches won’t produce a noticeable slowdown in the majority of cases, though, on the other hand, there are systems that might see a reduction in performance for certain tasks requiring substantial processing power.
Intel, however, has promised to mitigate all these side effects over time, so future updates should restore performance, at least to a less noticeable level if not by bringing it back to the pre-patching score.